Strong start to second Grand Prix of season for Scottish figure skater
Ice dancer Lewis Gibson and partner Lilah Fear are lying in fourth place in their second Grand Prix of the season.
Gibson, from Prestwick and Fear scored 76.06 for their rhythm dance - the first section of the NHK Trophy competition in Japan. The score is only marginally below their personal best of 76.89, which earned them a bronze medal at their first Grand Prix of the season, Skate Canada International, last month.
The Grand Prix is their second - and the last - of the season, coming just a week before the British Championships in Sheffield, where they are set to be named British champions for the third time. The pair will then compete in the European Figure Skating Championships in Austria and the World Figure Skating Championships in Canada early next year.
The couple will be hoping to challenge Italian pair Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri for the bronze medal spot after tomorrow's free dance.
Gibson told The Scotsman: "We are very happy with our Rhythm Dance result. We have been working hard on our technical levels before this event and pleased with our technical result today. Looking forward to performing our Free Dance tomorrow."
Gibson and Fear enjoyed a breakthrough season last year, when they placed sixth in the European Figure Skating Championships and 13th in the World Figure Skating Championships. The pair train in Montreal under international coaches Romain Haguenauer and Marie-France Dubreuil and have earned a reputation for high-energy dances which have attracted an international following. This year's free programme is to a mix of music by Madonna, including classic Vogue.
They have had a strong start to this year's season, ranking fourth at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany in September and scooping a silver medal at the Autumn Classic in Canada. Both of these competitions were part of the ISU's Challenger Series, a group of senior-level international figure skating competitions ranked below the Grand Prix series.